Cummins Power Generation rental generator sets are best-fit solution for Saudi polysilicon plant

This Saudi polysilicon plant built by Hyundai Engineering and Construction, is set to make an important contribution to Saudi Arabia’s drive for greener energy. At Jubail, on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia, Hyundai E&C is in the process of constructing a facility to produce around 3,000 tons a year of polysilicon, a crystalline material increasingly used in the manufacture of solar panels. World polysilicon production has rocketed over the last decade, and this complex at Jubail – Saudi Arabia’s largest industrial city – will be the first polysilicon manufacturing facility in the region.

Hyundai E&C called in Al Faris Equipment Rentals LLC to supply a power plant for the commissioning phase of the project. A close working partnership with Cummins Power Generation over the years has provided Al Faris with an in-depth understanding of Cummins products, and has helped develop its own full-fledged projects team capable of designing complex rental power plant solutions. Thanks to the support and training available from Cummins, Al Faris was able to take complete responsibility for all design, project and application work.

polysilicon1                                                      polysilicon2

Containerised generators sets were supplied from stock                            Al Faris completed every detail of the plant in a few days


The power plant was commissioned with an initial capacity of 5 MW in December 2013, with a target of reaching a full installed capacity of 33 MW by May 2014. An interim 15 MW plant was commissioned on March 15, 2014. Al Faris had been thinking ahead and planning for large-scale rental projects of this type, so Cummins Power Generation rental specification 1,000 kW C1250 D2R PowerBox™ generator sets were already in stock in Saudi Arabia. Five of these were initially required to supply 5 MW, 15 for the interim plant, and 33 for when the full installed capacity was reached.

Al Faris was able to meet the logistical challenges of a compressed timeline and install a complete plant in a matter of days. As commissioning work on the polysilicon facility proceeded, the power plant was required to provide continuous operation without interruption over a period of several months, including the scheduled capacity enhancement from  15 MW to 33 MW. For this phase of the work, Al Faris designed a solution that utilises a compact 33 kV Ring Main Unit to provide safe electrical isolation during installation.

The project presented Al Faris with a number of challenges, above and beyond the environmental factors of a dusty atmosphere, high ambient temperature and high humidity. The power plant was required to fit into limited space, and the ability to supply generator sets in a 20-foot containerised package format offering high power density proved a clear advantage. Stringent tolerances on voltage and frequency fluctuations had to be met, and the Cummins PowerCommand® Controls on the generator sets have performed excellently to keep the power plant operating stably. There have also been several large inductive and resistive loads, whichhave been handled without any noticeable fluctuations.

‘The project has been challenging, with new constraints placed as we were designing the plant. The last one was that the upgrade from 15 MW to 33 MW should be done without a break in service due to the nature of tests being carried out,’ comments Siva Kumar, Al Faris Business Development Manager – Energy. ‘The tests progressed well and the customer is pleased with the choice of equipment.’ Kumar says ‘This is the first time they have run such a facility using a diesel generator based power plant, and they plan to invite their colleagues working on the other projects to a demonstation of the successful test results they have achieved by using an alternative to utility power.

In challenging environmental conditions, and with only limited space available, Al Faris was not only able to match Hyundai E&C’s expectations, but also cover its future needs. Polysilicon production is a continuous process, and when the facility is completed it will be running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The power plant designed and installed by Al Faris will be able, if required, to supply power for polysilicon production at the site until utility power becomes available.